The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has concluded its assessment of a proposal by Mr DN Hughes for the intensification and expansion of the Western Junction Quarry in Northern Midlands Council municipality.
The proposal by DN Hughes is to increase extraction and processing rates at the existing Level 2 quarry to 312,500 cubic metres per year, and to gradually move extraction into a new area on the southern side of the existing operation. Material will be liberated by blasting, and transported to the crushing and screening area for processing and further treatment as required.
The Chair of the EPA Board, Mr Warren Jones, said the Board concluded the proposed development could be managed in an environmentally sustainable and acceptable manner, with certain conditions. The Board requires these conditions to be included in any permit subsequently granted by the Northern Midlands Council.
“Various environmental issues were considered by the Board in its assessment, particularly noise emissions, blasting impacts and air emissions," Mr Jones said.
“The EPA requires that a noise survey be conducted once operations commence in the new pit to confirm the noise assessment predictions," he said.
“In addition, a suite of conditions are imposed relating to blasting to ensure that Launceston Airport and other sensitive receptors are notified of blasting, and that appropriate blast design and monitoring occurs.
“The proponent will also be required to control dust emissions from drilling, blasting, transport of materials and during processing of materials," said Mr Jones.
The proposal was referred to the Board in April 2019, and public consultation was open for a 28 day period from 11 May 2019. Four representations were received in relation to the permit application. The environmental issues raised in these representations were aviation safety, dust emissions and protection of wastewater treatment infrastructure.
The proposal was considered by the Board in the context of the sustainable development objectives of the Resource Management and Planning System of Tasmania (RMPS), and in the context of the objectives of the Environmental Management and Pollution Control System (EMPCS) established by the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 (EMPCA).
The functions of the Board are to administer and enforce the provisions of EMPCA, to further the RMPS and EMPCS objectives and, in particular, to use its best endeavours to protect the environment of Tasmania.
The Board undertook the assessment of the proposal in accordance with the Environmental Impact Assessment Principles defined in Section 74 of EMPCA.
The Board's environmental assessment report, including the environmental conditions, has been issued to the Proponent and the Northern Midlands Council.
The decision by the EPA Board can be viewed on the EPA website at https://epa.tas.gov.au/assessment/assessments/d-n-hughes-western-junction-quarry-extension-western-junction.